Thursday, November 16, 2023

Noah Healy and his project kPlug for Treating Corneal Injuries won first place and $20,000 at the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (Iowa JPEC) Innovation Challenge Awards event Nov. 15 at MERGE in Iowa City, Iowa. A total of $74,000 was given in two divisions to support innovation across campus.

kPlug, which addresses the problem of corneal perforations, won the faculty/staff/graduate student/incubator startup division in the Best Technology category. Winning for Best Community Impact was Chris Ortman’s Healthy Minds, Healthy Hawks, a stress management and wellness program driven by the SMART mobile app. Ortman received $3,000.

First-place winners in the undergraduate competition were Patrick Foster with Courser in the Best Technology category and Tatum Johnson with Greenpocket Bags in the Best Non-Technology category. Foster and Johnson both received $5,000. Courser is an AI-powered Learning Management System and Greenpocket Bags creates portable reusable bags.

Sixty University of Iowa-related businesses applied for the Fall business model competition and 38 were selected as finalists to compete Nov. 13 (undergraduate) and Nov. 14 (faculty, staff, graduate students, incubator startup).

Iowa JPEC is the hub for entrepreneurial education and outreach at the University of Iowa. It is committed to helping students, faculty, staff, and community members launch and grow businesses.

Graduate/Faculty/Staff/Incubator Startup Awards

Best Technology      
Place Project Name Amount
First kPlug for Treating Corneal Injuries Noah Healy $20,000
Second SAILS Muhammad Taifur Rahman $12,000
Third Halide Biologics Daniel Infield $8,000
Best Community Impact      
First Healthy Minds, Healthy Hawks Chris Ortman $3,000
Second Practical Dental Solutions Rob Bowers $2,000
Third Small Mall Vending Jayne Meacham $1,000
Best Pitch Tura Lura Co. Erika Christiansen $2,000
Judges' Choice Earthmind Fred Meyer $2,000
Undergraduate Awards      
Best Technology      
First Courser Patrick Foster $5,000
Second BSharp Nicole Williams $3,000
Third Aurora Sleep Watch Benjamin Hanks $1,500
Best Non-Technology      
First Greenpocket Bags Tatum Johnson $5,000
Second Face Totes by Olivia Miller Olivia Miller $3,000
Third Heartland Pictures LLC Will Schwarz $1,500
Best Pitch Wise Dweller Productions Ashley Cimarolli $1,500
Best Social Impact Blue Heron Tessa Petersen $1,500
Judges' Choice Seat Stock Brady Stein $1,000
Judges' Choice Purrrfect Cup Sammi deNeui $1,000